Image courtesy New York Times
Federal law still prohibits growing, selling and using cannabis. It has always been a stupid law. As voters legalize marihuana in a loud and consistent voice, an already stupid federal law looks somehow even more stupid. Ever the opportunists, Russian government has decided to use our stupidity to their advantage.
There was a reason that people like Mr. Kukushkin, who was born in Ukraine and later worked at a Russian investment bank, had a unique opportunity to get in on the ground floor. Federal law still treats cannabis as an illegal substance, and traditional banks have been wary of getting involved. Wealthy financiers have moved in to fill the void — including a growing cast of investors from Russia and former Soviet Union countries who have helped shape the industry's growth.
The opposition to the SAFE banking act seems suspicious, in my opinion. We've covered Fox News' opposition to the act and found it logically odd considering the Republican stance on state sovereignty and free market commerce. Add in that Michael Cohen's "secret client" was Sean Hannity and questions begin to flow. Also keep in mind that election funding completely changed after Citizens United v. FEC, 558 U.S. 310*; the Russian GTU took an interest in sending propaganda to America when they launched an English version of RT in 2010 after the Citizens holding was announced. Given Cohen's connections to the Russian mafia and Sean Hannity as the prime time face of Fox News, logical questions follow about who might have investments in Fox News or their personalities.
The antiseptic light of day could cure this problem. The Senate needs to pass the SAFE act and the President should sign it. If nothing else we can discourage the Russian mafia from laundering money through the cannabis industry. The SAFE act has majority support from both political parties. Why is conservative media complex against it? Good question. Something tells me that like all other roads, this also leads to Putin.
*Citizen's United is the case that decided corporations were entitled to first amendment rights. There are plenty of phrases about bad cases making bad law, but Citizens United stands alone in the category of "bad dictum." There will come a day when it is seen as a Lochner level disaster, maybe even moreso.